Tween Universal Vs. Childish Disney: Brilliant Strategy, Timid Execution

Tween Universal Vs. Childish Disney: Brilliant Strategy, Timid Execution

Disney World rules central Florida tourism with 70% of the market.  Universal Orlando is a distant second place competitor with 24%, roughly one-third the size of the leader.

Universal must walk a fine line.  They want to encourage tourists to come to central Florida and Disney is the big draw.  On the other hand, they want to offer tourists an alternative experience that is different and maybe even better.

Universal has hit on a brilliant strategy—position the resort as the more adventurous alternative to Disney’s childish experience.  For tweens who don’t want to be “treated like a little kid anymore”, and for parents who have endured Disney for the sake of the children, Universal offers a more fun option.

While the strategy is bold, the execution is timid.  Obviously Universal wouldn’t want to make a tough, aggressive commercial.  An enjoyable experience needs an enjoyable ad, and the commercial is pleasant.  But Universal could have had more fun creating the contrast with the childish Disney World.  A fun commercial with a little more edge could be a sample of the more interesting experience universal offers.

If viewers are paying attention, they know the commercial is for Universal Orlando Resorts, an alternative to Disney World.  But most people aren’t paying attention because the ad must compete with everything else going on at that moment in viewers’ lives.  A good chunk of those viewers won’t even realize that this commercial is not for Disney.  It feels like a Disney commercial.

Universal has a great idea.  Why not have fun and exploit it?

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